Although our Member of the Month for May has only been an SAP Community member for 3 years, he has managed to accomplish quite a bit in that time.
Before we made the move from SCN to SAP Community, Koen Hesters had earned a respectable 30
badges and published more than 20 blog posts. And this year, he has answered nearly 100 questions. It’s no wonder that he has a community network with dozens of followers. After you learn a bit more about him, you might want to follow him as well.
So let’s get started.
First, allow me to be the first to congratulate you for this well-deserved honor, Koen.
Well, Jerry, I’m active at a Juventus FC forum as well, but I have never been selected as Member of the Month, so I guess it’s good that I know more about my job than about football. Seriously, I’m thrilled to receive this honor.
I always like to kick the Member of the Month interviews off with a question about people’s professional experience. According to your profile page, you work for Kohesco. Could you tell me a little bit about it? Wait. Kohesco. I’m assuming that the company name is based on yours — ergo, the company is also yours. If that’s the case, I’m also curious to know how you got started.
Great guess! I grew up with my grandparents, who were entrepreneurs in the beer sector. Belgians, you know… It was always my dream to live up to the example set by my grandfather. He was and is my role model. Kohesco is the name I gave my corporation, but at the moment it is a one-man show. But you never know what happens — a man can dream and one day there might be a “co.” Correct that — “should” dream. I think if you are passionate about something and give all you got, good things will happen, and look now I’m honored as Member of the Month.
Kohesco, Koen’s one-man show, demonstrates the entrepreneurship learned from his grandparents.
You don’t list any areas of expertise, but based on your interaction in the community, I’d hazard a guess that you focus on SAP Business Warehouse and BusinessObjects. Is that accurate? If so, could you tell me how you got involved in those areas? If not, could you give me some details about your focus areas?
I graduated as a construction engineer and worked for 2 years in the sector. But I acted on advice of a good friend at that time — Lex Van Hende — to jump to SAP Business Warehouse consultancy…a move I never regretted.
I had the luck to learn a lot at KBC, a national bank, where I got to know BusinessObjects as well. From then on I absorbed quite everything about business intelligence. BEx Queries, WAD’s, WebI’s, Xcelsius, Design Studio, Lumira… I really got passionate about it. It’s thrilling to empower people with the information they seek. Modeling the data in SAP Business Warehouse or in BusinessObjects Universe Designer, real-time data with the help of HANA — we are in exciting times for business intelligence.
Now I’m focusing on visualization, structuring of a reporting environment and standardization. Check out New Analytics courses at openSAP: SAP BW/4HANA & Semantic Notation. Inspiring stuff! I even got to start my own company and take on BI projects. I’m living my dream.
So it looks like Kohesco is in Gent, Belgium. Do you live in Gent? Are you from there originally? I’ve never been to Belgium, so I’d love to learn more about the city and country — and about your background and travels, of course.
I’m from a small village near Gent and did my studies in Gent. After the studies, I kept my residence in Gent because I’m in love with the city. I live in a cozy apartment in the city center together with my wonderful girlfriend, Kim, and our dog, Lightning, which is really nice and we just have to go outside and enjoy all those medieval streets and squares. Magnificent! Gent is truly worth visiting.
During the last four elections, people in Belgium voted one way. But not in Gent — they voted the other way. So you see, the people of Gent are headstrong, but also warm, especially in July when we have our “Gentse Feesten,” an open festival all over the city center for 10 days. My favorite spot is the Korenlei/Graslei. If you drop by, first beer is on me. I’ll even buy you a Duvel if you can handle it.
I travelled to Peru, Jordan, and USA, and have been all over Europe. I lost my heart in Italy. I can’t say why. Is it about the language, la dolce far niente, the beautiful country, the food, la vita e bella? It’s definitely my vacation numero uno.
Koen with girlfriend, Kim, in Italy –his favorite place for vacation and where he lost his heart
Can’t say if I can handle a Duvel, but I’ve never turned down a free beer. Not that I would vote for a Member of the Month based on gifts — not even beer. Actually, I’d like to talk about why you did receive Member of the Month. Several Member of the Month candidates have been chosen based entirely on their activity in Q&A, but you’re one of the rare members who has a nice combination of blog posts and answers. Do you have a preference — writing blogs or answering questions? If so, is there a reason why?
I really like to blog — definitely in this new community where it is easier to deliver a proper blog layout. Yeah, there are also good things to say about the new community, but continue improving it! Please vote up the idea about showing all content. Tammy Powlas, Arijit Das, Amit Kumar are truly beasts at their turf. My deepest respect for them and all others I forgot to mention.
The bulk of your blog posts came in 2014. I’ve only seen one thus far this year. Has there been a reason for the drop? Can we expect more blog posts from you this year? (No pressure…but active bloggers make me happy!)
One of the first inspiring blogs I followed was one from William Marcy, titled Webi 4.x tricks : summary. Smashing stuff! He selected one of my blogs to add to his overview of tips and tricks and that motivated me. So in 2014 I was quite into it. But when I do a blog now, I really want to create a big full-on story. It is a work effort that stretches out not over hours or days but over weeks and even months.
At the moment I’m responsible for the restructuring of an entire reporting environment. Eventually more blogs will follow to share my experiences.
I find that people who like to write also like to read. So whenever I meet a community member with several blog posts, I always ask, “Do you have a favorite author?” I guess that’s what I’m asking you. Phrased less awkwardly…what do you like to read?
To be honest. I’m not the biggest reader. While watching one of my favorite series “Blackadder,” my girlfriend, Kim, noticed that it was written by Ben Elton, a writer she adores a lot. She has every book written by him and I read them all cover to cover. They were cunningly good. But one tip: if you have read a book, never watch the movie remake.
I’m laughing at “cunningly good” because I’m a “Blackadder” fan as well. I appreciate the inside joke. As for film adaptations, I could debate using a few examples — but that’s the type of conversation I’ll save for the beer. So let’s switch from blogs to questions. You seem to answer questions almost every day of the business week — sometimes multiple questions, in fact. That tells me that the community must be part of your daily ritual. Is that right? I’d like to know when you come to the community, how you fit answering questions into your schedule…that sort of thing.
Without the community, I wouldn’t be able to do my job as good as I do it now. That’s also the reason why I’m active in this community — to give something back by sharing my thoughts and experiences. While searching for my own answers, I stumbled over unanswered questions — answering those worked addictively. Now I try to check the community on a daily basis, to catch up with my communication and help where I can. Answering questions is in general faster than writing blogs. So when I disappear at home, Kim knows where to find me. Online!
I’m betting that work and the community don’t take up every waking hour. So what do you like to do in your downtime? Any hobbies or activities you enjoy?
I’m a passionate cyclist. Every year I set a goal and prepare myself for it. It started from just riding for fun till now riding Granfondo in the Alps and Pyrenees. It really helps me to unwind and get relaxed although it is really a bit of a masochistic sport. It’s the heroism that attracts me. Last SAP TechEd I attended, I drove by car from Gent to Barcelona so I had all my cycling gear with me and I could enjoy my two biggest passions.
The taste of gold: Koen’s award for completion time of the grueling Granfondo Alpes cycling event
Whew…we covered a lot of ground. Uh…that’s not a cycling pun. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d care to add?
I hope more people feel the need to share their thoughts and to be more active in this community. So, please share your experiences and feel free to give constructive criticism. And I would like to end with one of my favorite one-liners: “Get more information out of your data.”
Many thanks for this great honor!
Well, as one “Blackadder” and beer fan to another, I had a great time talking to you, Koen. Thanks for taking the time to chat — and for taking the time to contribute so much to the SAP Community!